Leaky pipes at city pools pouring money down the drain

Ray Tabata swims at the Palolo Valley Swimming Pool several times a week and is fed up of seeing the locker rooms left in disrepair from overflowing urinals to leaky shower heads and faucets.

“When you look at it, that’s a lot of water going down the drain. That’s our tax money going down the drain,” Tabata said.

It’s tax money that is getting spread thin. The city Parks and Recreation Department has already cut back on its hot water usage and pool hours.

But pool users, like Tabata, say money could be saved if things like leaky showers were addressed.

KHON2 conducted an experiment to see how long it takes to reach one gallon. It took nine minutes and 24 seconds. At that rate, that means about 151 gallons of water down the drain — 4,547 gallons a month.

Along with wasting a precious resource, the Board of Water Supply estimates it’s wasting $18.58 a month, but that’s just one leak. There are more. Just look at Manoa Valley Swimming Pool.

“One of the showers is not working at all. Some of them leak so much water, it’s a waste,” Manoa swimmer Valerie Chung said.

Chung bought shower heads with her own money, just like Tabata, and made the repairs herself.

KHON2 spotted another volunteer just sweeping up the pool area.

So where have the city maintenance crews been? KHON2 pressed the Director of Parks and Recreation for answers.

“There’s not enough funds, not enough resources, manpower to do all the repair work that we would like to do,” said Toni Robinson, Director of Parks and Recreation.

She says there is a city plumbing crew of about 10 people who are also in charge of irrigation systems, bathrooms, and locker room facilities island wide. So they have to prioritize their projects.

“We know we are wasting water, too, and we’re trying to get that fixed. We have staff up there today to see if something can be done immediately,” Robinson said.

The Parks and Recreation Department is also facing a $1.5 million cut in their operating budget for 2014, so things could get worse before they get better.

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